Approximately two in five people have a sleeping problem. Sleep disorders can lead to serious health problems or cause accidents due to sleep deprivation. Sleep disorders can cause the person suffering from the disorder to not get restful sleep and, as a result, can cause daytime sleepiness and dysfunction. There are approximately 80 different types of sleep disorders – you can download a brochure on sleep disorders here.

Common Sleep Disorders:

  • Insomnia
  • Sleep apnea
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Narcolepsy

Insomnia

  • Insomnia causes difficulty falling or staying asleep. A person with insomnia may have one or more of the following symptoms:
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Wakening up over and over again during the night and the inability to fall back to sleep
  • Waking up extremely early
  • Having unrefreshed sleep
  • Having a problem during the day such as fatigue; sleepiness; mood changes, concentration; and accidents at work or while driving

Insomnia differs in how extensive it lasts and how frequently it happens. About 50 out of 100 of grown-ups experience sporadic bouts of insomnia, and one in 10 suffers from long-lasting insomnia. Insomnia can happen by itself or can be related by means of a medical or psychiatric condition. Insomnia can be temporary (acute or adjustment insomnia) or may last a extended interval (chronic insomnia). Insomnia may be sporadic, with periods of time when a individual has no sleep difficulties. Acute or adjustment insomnia can last from one night to a few weeks. Insomnia is chronic when it lasts at least three nights a week for a month or more.

Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that happens when a person’s breathing is sporadically paused while asleep. A person with untreated sleep apnea will stop breathing repetitively throughout their sleep with episodes lasting 10 seconds or longer. Two key sleep-related breathing disorders are obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the more common sleep related breathing disorders of the two. OSA is caused by a blocked airway, typically when the soft tissue in the posterior of the throat collapses in the course of sleeping. Symptoms of OSA can consist of snoring, daytime sleepiness, fatigue, restlessness during sleep, gasping for air while sleeping, or difficulty focusing.Central Sleep Apnea (CSA), the airway is not blocked; however the brain fails to convey the signal to breathe. A person with central sleep apnea may wake up frequently.

Left untreated, sleep apnea may complicate or cause serious and life-shortening health problems such as High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, automobile accidents and work place accidents-caused by falling asleep, diabetes, or depression. This list is not extensive and there are other ailments caused from sleep apnea or complicated by sleep apnea.

Restless Legs Syndrome
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a sleep disorder that causes the irresistible urge to move the legs. This feeling can happen when lying down in bed or sitting for length periods of time. RLS normally happens in the evening, and it makes difficulty falling or staying asleep. Restless legs syndrome signs and symptoms include daytime sleepiness, irritability and difficulty focusing. A person with RLS might walk around and shake their legs to help alleviate the uncomfortable feeling.

Narcoplepsy
Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that disturbs the control of sleep and wakefulness. A person with narcolepsy may experience excessive daytime sleepiness with sporadic, uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep during the daytime. Some individuals have sudden sleep attacks that may occur any time of the day. Narcolepsy suffers may complain of sudden muscle weakness with laughter or other emotions. A person suffering from Narcolepsy usually shows signs between the ages of 15 to 25 years, but it can develop at any age.

Sleep Testing
A sleep study or polysomnogram (PSG) is a diagnostic test that electronically transmits and records specific bioelectrical potentials and physical activities while you sleep. The sleep test can be done at home (home sleep testing) for select patients while others will come to the sleep disorders center. The recorded data is analyzed by a qualified physician to determine whether or not you have a sleep disorder.

For More information please visit the National Sleep Foundation or the American Sleep Association, or call the Sleep Disorders Center at Indian River Medical Center at (772) 563-4403 to speak with a sleep technologist. An onsite, guided tour may be scheduled with additional educational materials provided.